Most of us are used to the way we measure the efficiency of a petrol or diesel vehicle; ‘Miles per Gallon’ is published for all new vehicles and is the understood method of comparing how thirsty a vehicle really is.
However, for electric vehicles, there’s no burning of liquid fuel, therefore, a new way of comparing efficiency is needed.
To compare the efficiency of electric vehicles and understand how much energy they use per mile, there are two most commonly used measures, either Miles per kWh or Watt Hours per Mile.
Miles per kWh is simply the number of miles the vehicle can cover for 1 kWh of energy; that’s the unit used to measure and price all electricity tariffs in the UK. Most electric vehicles are capable of driving between 2 and 4 miles for every kWh of energy in the battery, depending on weather conditions, driving style, how heavily loaded the vehicle is, and so on.
Watt Hours per Mile is similar but instead focuses on the amount of energy required to move a vehicle over a single mile. Most electric vehicles sit within the 240 - 450 Watt Hours per Mile range.
The most efficient electric vehicle on sale in the UK is The Hyundai IONIQ 6.
According to the EV Database, the 2-wheel drive version consumes 240 Watt Hours of energy per Mile driven, or it can drive 4.2 miles for every kWh of energy in the battery.
To put that into context, driving for 1 mile in an IONIQ 6 uses the same amount of energy as using a hairdryer for about 7.5 minutes, or a lawnmower for 15 minutes.
Over the course of a year, someone driving 7,400 miles per year (the UK average) would consume 1,762 kWh of electricity. To put that into perspective, the average UK household would use 2,900 kWh of electricity in the same period.